Blackburn Hawks 5 Chelmsford Chieftans 7

BLACKBURN Arena housed its biggest attendance of the season on Saturday night and guess what? Hawks lost!

But a crowd upwards of 1,500 certainly couldn't complain about the level of entertainment, particularly in a remarkable final minute when it all went pear-shaped for the English Premier League title chasers.

The game was locked at 5-5 going into the closing seconds and Hawks felt their ace marksman Andrew Dickson had been tripped as he surged in on the visiting goal in search of the winner.

No foul was given and the Chieftains went straight down to the other end to score. Dickson continued to argue with the referee and was promptly sin-binned which signalled the Hawks to take off netminder Barry Hollyhead in a frantic last-gasp bid for an equaliser. The plan backfired with Chelmsford rubbing salt in by adding a seventh into an empty net.

Hawks player-coach Bobby Haig was not over impressed with the performance of the official: "The referee certainly didn't help matters and we felt badly done to. But that's what happens from time to time and there isn't much you can do about it.

"We didn't play well, but we shouldn't have lost and it was a pity we couldn't have put on a show for such a big crowd. I just hope the people who came along for the first time give us another chance for we will bounce back, make no mistake about that."

Canadian ace Dickson helped himself to a hat-trick and Hawks looked to be heading for certain victory when they led 3-1 early in the second period. But whatever Dickson did, a familiar face in the visiting ranks seemed determined to go one better. Ex-Hawk Jon Cotton also got on the scoresheet three times - including the final two crucial strikes.

Period scores: 2-1, 1-3, 2-3.

Scoresheet: Gordon Whyte 0+1, Tom Burridge 0+1, Danny Mackriel 0+1, Billy Price 1+0, Andrew Dickson 3+1, Lamonte Polet 1+2.

Hawks have beaten the season's second transfer deadline to snap up promising young defenceman Michael Thompson from Dumfries. Eighteen-year-old Thomson, whose older brother Jamie also on the staff, made his bow on Saturday.

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